Sitting down to breakfast early on February 18th, God served up a fresh poem just outside my windows. Wolf Creek had leapt its bounds and was slowly creeping up the lawn as a result of the hard rains and melting snows of multiple weeks. In the midst of attending my sons’ basketball tournaments, filing taxes, and commenting on the rough drafts of thesis papers, this invitation to pause was a welcome intrusion into the raging tide of life.
When I started the poem, I intended to focus on how easily we can be unmoored or the potentially destructive nature of such floods, especially as that relates to life. It’s easy to be swept away and overwhelmed particularly when the rains seemingly have no end and the pace of life wears us away like the banks of an ever rushing river. But the sight of two ducks and some debris floating peacefully downstream took me in a different direction, as you’ll see below.
“My responsibility is to obey, to surrender my heart and to yield myself to the will of God. It is in the process of obedience that we gain understanding. You can’t get the peace that passes understanding until you give up your right to understand.”― Bill Johnson, Manifesto for a Normal Christian Life
I believe there are times in life when we simply need to yield ourselves, like the debris, to the One who holds the streams and sends the rains, when we would most benefit from trading our understanding and control for the peace that passes all understanding, as Bill Johnson so wisely noted above. I actually just heard this quote today. We had stopped to pray for, worship with, and anoint a good friend who has been fighting a battle with illness for over half a year. He shared this quote with us before we left and it has stuck with me throughout the day. Perhaps when we arrive at that place of peace, we can approach the flooded streams of life like the ducks, not overwhelmed or threatened or pulled under by the turbulent waters, but rather, fully yielded and in our element, we’ll ride upon the waves, web-footed, feather-oiled, and sure that we’ll arrive exactly where we should be.
On Freshet’s Flow
Vincent H. Anastasi - 2022 Wolf Creek has burst its banks, the inky spill effacing the white sheet of snow blanketing the backyard - the swing-set, a silent lighthouse on an ever dissolving shore. Carried along on the rushing current, ducks or debris pass indifferently in the new-dawn dim while I wonder if my wood pile has been carried off by the creek's ebullience as the snow gently falls. Try as I might, I cannot keep life neatly contained, especially when swollen with rain and melting snow, it disregards these earthen banks, tumbling dams, ravaging rivages, ever stealing farther up the lawn. Still, before day fully breaks, let me learn the way of ducks and debris: grant me either webbed feet and feathers oiled that I might navigate the surge serene, or, fully yielded to the stream, carry me willing on freshet's flow 'til I arrive where I should be.